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Coach Braga returns as axe falls on Gerets

Coach Braga returns as axe falls on Gerets

Al Jazira have gone through seven coaches in past four years

By James Jose (senior Reporter)

Published: Wed 17 Jun 2015, 11:30 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:11 PM

Abel Braga led The Spiders to their only League title in the 2010-11 season. — AFP

Abu Dhabi — After four years and seven coaches, Al Jazira have gone back to the tried and tested.

The Pride of Abu Dhabi have reappointed Brazilian Abel Braga as coach after the axe finally came on Belgian Eric Gerets.

There was speculation on Gerets’ stay at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium after the season ended and his exit was confirmed by the club on Tuesday. The club announced the news on twitter after which they also posted a statement on their official website.

Braga, who led The Spiders to their only League title in the 2010-11 season during his three-year reign, returns for a second spell with the club. It is not known how long a contract he has been given but it is believed to be for two seasons. Al Jazira have gone through seven coaches in the past four years, although Alejandro Sabella had pulled out at the last minute to coach his native Argentina in the World Cup in Brazil.

“Al Jazira Football Company announces that the Brazilian manager Abel Braga has officially signed a contract to coach the first football team, as a replacement of the Belgian Eric Gerets. He will be presented to the media and fans later at a press conference,” the club said in a statement. Braga left Al Jazira in 2011 to coach Fluminense and then Internacional. The 62-year-old was without a job last year after leaving Internacional and was linked to various Arabian Gulf League sides during the period.

Under Braga, apart from winning their maiden League title, Al Jazira also won the Etisalat Emirates Cup (now rebranded as the Arabian Gulf Cup) in 2010 and the President’s Cup in 2011. Braga has played for Paris Saint-Germain and coached an array of Brazilian clubs as well as French side Marseille.

Under Gerets, who still had a year left to run on his two-year contract, Al Jazira finished second in the Arabian Gulf League and went out of the President’s Cup. They were also knocked out during the group stages of the Arabian Gulf Cup and lost to Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor in an AFC Champions League play-off.

At a club which sees being second best as a failure, it was only a matter of time before they showed Gerets the door. The 61-year-old had arrived from Qatari side Lekhwiya last summer. He had also previously coached Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal.

Gerets, who played for AC Milan and PSV Eindhoven and was capped 86 times for Belgium, had taken over from Italian Walter Zenga. Gerets had also coached PSV Eindhoven, FC Kaiserslautern, Wolfsburg, Galatasaray, Marseille and Morocco.

He was the second Belgian to coach Al Jazira after Franky Vercauteren. It remains to be seen whether he will remain in the Middle East as he had hinted when he had taken over that this would be his third and his last stint in the region.


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